Yet Another Sin-derella Story
By Sadira Sittampalam
While there is no shortage of Cinderella adaptations in this world, James Corden took it upon himself to decide that we all needed one more. He decided it was time to ‘reinterpret’ this story, getting Kay Cannon to write the script and direct the piece to be a ‘modern’ and ‘progressive’ retelling of this age-old classic. And thank goodness he did! Because everyone knows we are missing a lot of painfully average mediocrity in our lives.
Without Corden I could have spent those two hours of my life watching a movie that is - dare I say it - good. This adaptation follows practically the same storyline as every other adaptation, with one central aspect of the film changed. Yes, you guessed it! Cinderella wants to be a fashion designer this time around and run her very own business. We love a girl with ambition! Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t really have the support of her family, and in the very patriarchal monarchy of the time, women aren’t allowed to own businesses.
So this was the main conflict of the film, and honestly, right from the outset, you can tell how trivial all these issues surrounding ‘feminism’ are. It was as if they completely missed the point of being modern, making a movie about feminist issues that were either really obvious or really pandering. There was nothing modern about it. They didn’t have any critiques that an eight-year-old girl wouldn’t have heard before. I was just kind of amazed that an actual women wrote this intensely superficial feminist message, as it seemed exactly what a man’s pandering version of feminism would look like. Moving on, this movie was also a jukebox musical, which featured a number of popular hits.
This was likely included because there really wasn’t much substance in the actual script, and they needed some way to make it fun. I really didn’t enjoy any of the music or the dance numbers either. But I did enjoy them more than the actual dialogue, which didn’t allow me to experience even a single moment where I wasn’t cringing. They also made no attempt to make any of the female characters likeable, or even normal. Cinderella seemed to be the only person that was developed to a somewhat reasonable degree.
I say somewhat as she was still a sad excuse for a character, only in comparison to the rest did she shine. Somehow everyone in the script was reduced to a painful stereotype, even though this film was aiming to be this progressive retelling. There was no emotional connection to any character in the entire movie and more so, most of them were just very unlikeable. I didn’t even feel any sort of connection or chemistry between the main two leads of the movie, which is saying something. The whole anachronistic style of the film was also very distracting, and really, really unnecessary.
All in all, it seemed like a very lazy in-between setting where the director could get away with a lot of logical issues and other ridiculous choices, as she clearly put minimal effort into this movie, skipping any type of research into both history and feminism. They used modern slang in the movie in an attempt to be funny and relatable, but this only came off looking like pandering to the younger generation to seem cool. It felt like a very tired middle school theatre production of Cinderella, ripe with costumes that looked like it came out of the drama club closet.
You would think Cinderella, whose ambition is to become a designer, would come up with better looking clothes to wear. Even the production and sets felt very cheap and small scale. Needless to say, it was very, very boring to watch. I definitely found the movie funny at times, but for all the wrong reasons. I don’t know how they thought we would laugh at Corden in a mouse costume gleefully thrusting, as it has now become the fuel of my nightmares. After this film, I genuinely am concerned with the state of feminist understanding.
I cannot comprehend how someone could make a film that is actually just offensive to anyone who is an actual feminist. I would think making a point about feminism in a movie is as simple as showing the difficulties that women face and how they overcome it through their own volition. But this movie seemed really insistent on showing us all the rather trivial difficulties that Cinderella faces, showing us that she has the ambition to overcome it, but making sure that none of it gets done through her own determination or perseverance.
Instead, everyone else in the script is simply there to solve all of these issues for her. This movie could be considered a very commendable micro budget high school film student production. Unfortunately, it is just a really terrible feature film. Corden seems to have a penchant for being involved in the worst musicals known to man. I have nothing good to say about this film, and I still have a lot more bad things I couldn’t even cover in this review. This is a movie that COVID19 should have killed.